Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Insecure Writer and Story Research


Today is May's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.

What makes me an Insecure Writer this month?

Nothing. 

Well, other than the fact that my submission to my critique group is due tomorrow and my chapter is nowhere near ready. But that’s nothing out of the ordinary, so I think I’ll answer this month’s optional question instead. 

What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story? 

Hmmm… I’m still working on my first story so I haven’t had to do all that much research yet. My story does include some rather esoteric aspects of alchemy, but I’m a chemist so I already know most of that. I suppose my most memorable bit of research involved online banking transfers. Not because this topic is particularly weird or cool, but because of the way I had to obtain the information. 

The heroine in my story needed to access someone else’s bank account, but I didn’t know if what I had in mind would work in real life. So I picked up the phone and called both my bank and my credit card company and, after explaining that I was writing a novel, asked them pointed questions about the security issues involved when transferring money. 

I was admittedly nervous during the calls, afraid I might sound like someone planning to do something illegal. But both of the people I spoke with were very nice and didn’t seem at all reluctant to answer my questions. Turns out what I had in mind would work—at least sometimes—so I’m happy I made the calls. 

But the black sedan that’s been parked outside our house for the last few days is beginning to creep out my wife. 

I look forward to reading your answers to this question on your blogs.

ChemistKen


29 comments:

  1. Funny! Actually, they probably hear 'I'm writing a book' often.

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  2. Alchemy would be fun to research. I've always been curious about it.

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  3. LOL! You probably wouldn't have had to do any research to land my weirdest inquiry then: how to melt a body. Yeah... Hopefully that book will go somewhere in the next year. I tell you what, I've been watching for those black sedans ever since. (And we moved for good measure.) ;)

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  4. They just might be monitoring your bank accounts, too. LOL

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  5. I ask my daughter about the Chemistry side of things :) But I learned how to melt a body by watching Breaking Bad :) Have a great week and good luck with tomorrow.

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  6. LOL, Ken! It hurts to ask . . . until it does. Inquiring minds can be troublesome, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

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  7. LOL. I would have been a nervous wreck about making those calls.

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  8. *LOL* That's really cool you called and asked about it. I've never made a call for my research. Good luck tomorrow!

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  9. Hehe, sounds like some interesting research! Glad you are not fighting insecurities this month, happy writing.

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  10. I think it's really cool you made phone calls. I'm so used to using Google, that I forget there are other means of research. :)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Sorry I didn't have my IWSG post up yet when you did. >_<

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  11. Black sedan: You're hilarious, Ken! I've made some calls to real life people before, and each time I do it, I'm incredibly nervous. Maybe if I was published, I would feel better about it, but I'm afraid they won't take me seriously. Glad I'm not alone in the nervous department!

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  12. Good for you for making those calls! My google search is full of bizarre things. I've kind of wondered if a black suited men might come to our door...but so far, all's good!

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  13. Either they believed you about writing a book or thought you were lying and therefore lied back to you.

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  14. Yeah, I'd be nervous about asking them such questions too. I had to research safe deposit accounts once. It was interesting.

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  15. Since I'm not a chemist, learning about alchemy would be interesting. :)

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  16. Oh dear,
    That black sedan sounds suspicious. Glad those direct calls paid off with information, though.

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  17. That is pretty cool. It would not have occurred to me that I could call the bank and cc and ask and they would tell me.
    ' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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  18. That is awesome that they were helpful!
    If we don't hear from you for a while, we'll know what's up!! :)

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  19. I thought you were going to say you tried it out! But, thankfully-whew--you asked questions. Otherwise, I could explain that black sedan.

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  20. Hahaha - the black sedan. Thanks for the giggle.
    I'm glad you received great help.
    Best wishes on your writing!

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  21. Thanks for the chuckle!!! I worked for a bank for 10 years and I'm surprised they gave out that info. That's the reason for the black sedan...heheheee...

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  22. LOL! I enjoyed this post, Ken. It had me laughing out loud. I never would have thought of contacting my bank or credit card company to dig into online banking transfers. But that's a perfect resource! Good luck with your submission tomorrow.

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  23. So if our banks send out a new alert, we know it's because of you. I'm going right now and change my passwords.

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  24. lol, it can get that way sometimes with some of the research we do. "I swear I'm just a writer!!"

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  25. Yikes. The world is becoming a more and more dangerous place for writers just wanting to do a little research. ;)

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  26. You have guts. I can't imagine placing such a call.

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  27. I had to laugh at that black sedan comment...
    Imagine how many criminals use the "I'm a writer" line? Scary thought.

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  28. Hands-on research seems to be the most satisfying and the most fun! If it doesn't lead to creepy consequences, of course. :-) Sounds like you are "writing what you know", which makes the whole research process easier, I"m sure. Since we have been on "the other side" of transactions and payments, as a small business, my husband is learning a lot (the hard way) about banking, credit companies, transactions, etc. as well. :-)
    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

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